Home Sports Local Sports Baker gaffe-less in 9-0 win over Astoria
Baker gaffe-less in 9-0 win over Astoria
By JAYSON JACOBY
In retrospect, Laura Wilson figures she should have just watched the pitch.
She’s glad she swung at it instead.
Wilson’s two-run home run to right center ignited a five-run third-inning rally that propelled Baker to a 9-0 win over Astoria on a brilliant blue, albeit blustery, Thursday afternoon at the Sports Complex.
The Bulldogs, who improved to 22-3, will play host to a Class 4A first-round playoff game Wednesday.
The time, and the opponent, will be decided this weekend.
Wilson, a senior, said the home run pitch from Astoria’s Maddie Daw probably was a bit high and out of the strike zone.
“I tomahawked it,” Wilson said. “I probably should have let it go.”
Wilson’s homer scored Sierra Howerton, who had reached base on a walk, and upped Baker’s lead to 4-0.
The Bulldogs went on to score three more runs in the third.
Tori Brown walked, then stole second.
She scored on Danielle Freese’s double to right center.
Morgan Johnson then pounded a Daw pitch far over the left field fence for Baker’s second two-run homer of the inning.
Baker sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
The Bulldogs added two runs in the fourth, the first coming on Howerton’s solo homer just inside the left field foul pole.
Freese plated the second run with a single to center that scored Wilson, who had earlier also singled up the middle.
Baker nearly ended the game by 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth.
Mackenzie Srack led off with a double down the left field line.
After two straight outs, Howerton singled to shortstop, moving Srack to third.
But Astoria freshman Noelle Lund, who replaced Daw in the circle in the bottom of the fourth, struck out Wilson to end the threat and avoid the mercy rule.
Lund held Baker scoreless in the fifth and sixth, allowing three hits.
Baker pitchers D.J. McCauley and Tori Brown did considerably better than that.
In fact the duo — McCauley started and went five innings, with Brown throwing the last two — faced the minimum number of Astoria batters.
Yet they recorded neither a perfect game nor a no-hitter — a rare confluence in softball.
Here’s how it happened:
In the top of the first, Astoria’s Haley Larson blooped a single to short right field.
She was the first, and only, Astoria player to reach base.
The next batter, Stacy Vinson, hit a sharp ground ball that McCauley fielded and threw to Wilson who turned a double play to end the inning.
McCauley dominated from there, striking out nine in her five innings.
Brown struck out two in her two innings of relief.
Baker Coach Alan McCauley said the Bulldogs executed his game plan to perfection.
“Defense and pitching — we had both tonight,” he said.
Baker didn’t commit an error.
“The girls swung the bats well,” McCauley said. “In the first two innings we played short ball, then we started swinging away.”
Baker scored a single run in each of the first two innings by playing basic, fundamental softball.
Howerton led off with a double off the wall in the left center.
Wilson then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Howerton to third.
D.J. McCauley followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Howerton.
In the second, Freese led off with a single to left.
Johnson bunted Freese to second.
After Srack walked, Abi Smith put down another perfect sacrifice bunt that moved Freese to third and Srack to second.
Coach McCauley then called one of his favorite plays.
Srack purposely took a huge lead from second, trying to entice Daw to get her in a rundown.
The Astoria pitcher bit on the fake.
Srack was tagged out, but not before Freese raced home to score Baker’s second run.
Coach McCauley said he calls that the “Cleveland play.” He picked it up while coaching baseball, when Cleveland High School in Portland pulled the trick on the Bulldogs.
“You’d be surprised how often that works,” he said.
Baker tried the play again later in the game and nearly fooled Astoria again, even while the Fishermen fans, who drove 400 miles to see the game, yelled from the bleachers to ignore the runner leading off from second.
Baker finished with 12 hits.
Baker 1 1 5 2 0 0 x — 9
Daw, Lund (4) and Ward. McCauley, Brown (6) and Ellis. WP – McCauley. LP – Daw.
Baker hits – Howerton 3, Wilson 2, McCauley 2, Freese 3, Johnson, Srack,
Baker RBI – McCauley, Wilson 2, Freese 2, Johnson 2, Howerton
2B – Howerton, Srack. HR – Howerton, Wilson, Johnson.